WASHINGTON â€” The new Congress will, for the first time, include a Muslim, two Buddhists, more Jews than Episcopalians and the highest-ranking Mormon in congressional history.
Roman Catholics remain the largest single faith group in Congress, accounting for 29 percent of all members of the House and Senate, followed by Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews and Episcopalians.
While Catholics in Congress are Democrats by a ratio of nearly 2-to-1, the most lopsidedly Democratic groups are Jews and those not affiliated with any religion. Of the 43 Jewish members of Congress, there is only one Jewish Republican in the House, and there are two in the Senate. The six religiously unaffiliated members of the House are all Democrats.
The most Republican groups are the small band of Christian Scientists in the House (all five are Republican) and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (12 Republicans and three Democrats) â€” though the top-ranking Mormon in the history of Congress will be Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the new Democratic majority leader.
I think James L. Evans ofÂ First Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama sums up my thoughts about this the best:Â
Our religiously diverse Congress also serves to remind us of the power of religious freedom. This freedom is established in the First Amendment of our Constitution. Because Congress must never show partiality to any one faith, nor hinder anyoneâ€™s free exercise of faith, spirituality has blossomed in the rich soil of American freedom.
Of course it may be a cause of concern to some that so many diverse forms of spirituality have taken root in our culture, many of which do not follow traditional lines of Christian belief. But as we shall soon see with this incoming Congress, out of freedom comes diversity. You can never have one without the other.Â Link